The Full Wiki

Japan Sumo Association: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Japan Sumo Association (日本相撲協会 Nihon Sumō Kyōkai?) is the body that operates and controls professional sumo wrestling in Japan under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Rikishi (active wrestlers), gyōji (referees), tokoyama (hairdressers), and yobidashi (announcers), are all on the Association's payroll, but the organisation is run entirely by elders, or toshiyori.

Membership is obtained by purchasing, or inheriting a share in the Association, of which there are 105. The value of these shares is extremely high and rules only permit them to be purchased by former sumo wrestlers who either reached at least a sanyaku rank (komusubi and higher) or been ranked for a significant number of tournaments as a sekitori. Each share is associated with a particular name and in the sumo world the former wrestler will be known by that name, usually with the suffix oyakata. The members are also often called elders in English.

An exception to the purchase requirement is made for the most successful former yokozuna who may be offered a one-time membership of the Association. Three former wrestlers, Taihō, Kitanoumi and Takanohana obtained this status. A fourth, Chiyonofuji, was offered this status but preferred a normal share. These four all achieved more than twenty tournament championships in their active career.

The members of the Association receive a salary and are expected to assist in the running of the Association, from selling tickets at the most junior level, to taking charge of one of the Association Departments as a director.

The members are also the only persons able to train new sumo wrestlers. They do this by opening a training stable, or heya (changed to beya as a suffix) which will go by the membership name they own. Thus Dewanoumi-oyakata will be the owner of Dewanoumi-beya. Typically about 50% of the Association members have their own stable, while the rest are affiliated to one and assist the principal owner. It is common for the most senior members of the Association to concentrate on their Association responsibilities and pass the day-to-day management of a stable to another. If a senior oyakata wishes to do this, the two may elect to swap names so that the stable can keep the more prestigious name. A recent example was in 1996, when the Association's chairman Dewanoumi-oyakata (former yokozuna Sadanoyama), swapped names with Sakaigawa-oyakata (former sekiwake Washuyama) who took over the running of Dewanoumi stable.

The Association Members are also split into various ranks. A new retiree will have oyakata rank, except for former Ozeki and Yokozuna who are automatically granted Committee Member rank. Most experienced Association members are Committee Members. At the top are a group of elected riji or directors, who form the Association Board. The public face of sumo is presented by chairman of the directors, called the rijicho. He is effectively President of the Association.

All members are required to retire when they reach the age of sixty five, after which they can sell or pass their stock to another, provided that person meets the Association's eligibility requirements. In the case of a one-time membership the name merely lapses.


Association Board

As of February 2010:




Vice Directors


  • Hirose Masanori 1928–1938
  • Isamu Takeshita 1939–1944
  • Dewanoumi (the 31st Yokozuna Tsunenohana) 1944–1957
  • Tokitsukaze (the 35th Yokozuna Futabayama) 1957–1968
  • Musashigawa (ex maegashira Dewanohana) 1968–1974
  • Kasugano (the 44th Yokozuna Tochinishiki) 1974–1988
  • Futagoyama (the 45th Yokozuna Wakanohana) 1988–1992
  • Dewanoumi/Sakaigawa (the 50th Yokozuna Sadanoyama) 1992–1998
  • Tokitsukaze (former ozeki Yutakayama) 1998–2002
  • Kitanoumi (the 55th Yokozuna Kitanoumi) 2002–2008
  • Musashigawa (the 57th Yokozuna Mienoumi) 2008–incumbent

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address